milk tea coconut shortbread

With instant milk tea powder and a brown sugar swirl, these milk tea coconut shortbread cookies are buttery and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Recently, Mei Mei (my dog – find a picture here) has developed a very peculiar sleeping habit. She has not only started sticking out her tongue while she sleeps, but she has also started licking the air! I am starting to wonder if she is dreaming of food… maybe of eating these milk tea coconut shortbread cookies in particular.

What is (boba) milk tea?

Boba tea originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. It commonly consists of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls. Especially in recent years, it has become quite popular in the United States, with boba tea shops popping up all around the country. Personally, my favorite boba tea shop in the US is Orobae, located in Irvine, CA. Whenever I visit, Orobae always has a line, for good reason.

For a twist on Alison Roman’s absolutely incredible toasted coconut shortbread cookies, I added a generous amount of instant milk tea powder and replaced the cinnamon swirl with dark brown sugar. This milk tea coconut shortbread is buttery and coated in toasted coconut on the edges. It pairs perfectly with a cup of tea and is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Not to mention you can also easily make it ahead of time by chilling the dough a day beforehand. Now, are you ready to make a delicious batch of milk tea coconut shortbread?

tips for success

  • Use European Butter – this is not essential, but if you’d like some extra-rich, extra-buttery, and just overall extra-delicious shortbread, you should use European butter. European butter has a higher butterfat content compared to American butter which is the reason behind its richness.
  • Chill the dough! – if you don’t chill the logs of dough, the butter will not be cold which then leads to the cookies spreading too much.

milk tea coconut shortbread

With instant milk tea powder and a brown sugar swirl, these milk tea coconut shortbread cookies are buttery and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! | adapted from alison roman’s toasted coconut shortbread
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 22 cookies


  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter cold and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (75 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (13 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (four packets/58 grams) instant milk tea powder (I use Nitto Royal Milk Tea)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp (25 grams) dark brown sugar divided
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • unsweetened finely shredded coconut for rolling
  • granulated sugar for topping


  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour and kosher salt together until well combined. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter, both sugars, milk tea powder, and vanilla extract together on medium-high speed for about 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt from step one, and mix on low speed until nearly all combined. Add the shredded coconut, and mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Divide the dough in half. Place one half of the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, and flatten it with your hand until it’s nearly in the shape of a rectangle (no need for it to be perfect). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the dark brown sugar on top, and then roll/form the dough up into a log. Once the dough is formed into a log that’s about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 5 1/2 inches long in length, wrap the log of dough in plastic wrap. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Chill both logs for at least 3 hours (or up to 1 day).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Unwrap the logs of dough, and brush the sides with the beaten egg. Roll the logs in the finely shredded coconut, and then slice them into about 1/4 inch thick pieces. Dip each cookie in the granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets with the sugared side up about an inch apart from each other.
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets, and enjoy!
Keyword coconut, cookies, milk tea, shortbread

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